What The Toronto Islands Ferry Terminal Might Look Like In A Few Years

Monday Apr 13th, 2015



...If Waterfront Toronto Gets Its Way

What it is: An undulating wooden structure designed by KPMB Architects, West 8 and Greenberg Associates as a replacement for the aging, cruddy Toronto Islands ferry terminal, now known as the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. This concept was announced April 10th, 2015 as the winner of a design competition led by Waterfront Toronto.

Price tag: Unknown at this point. The project is still in its conceptual phase. 

Pedigree: It's hard to get more Torontonian than the group of firms behind this design. Ken Greenberg used to be the city's director of urban design and architecture, and now he's a sought-after consultant and talking head. KPMB has designed a lot of stuff in and around Toronto, including the lovely new public library branch in Fort York. West 8 is based in the Netherlands, but has been involved in developing Waterfront Toronto's master plan for the central waterfront.

Most promising feature: Turning the roof of the new terminal into a grassy hangout is an elegant way of getting the most out of the 11-acre site. 

Risk factor: All that luxurious, curving wood is supported by what looks like just a few slender columns. The engineers may need to ugly it up a little just to make it structurally sound.

Likely opposition: Nice ferry terminals aren't cheap. Once this plan has a dollar figure attached to it, expect some respect-for-taxpayers bellyaching from the usual places. Right now, only $800,000 is set aside for an initial phase of work.

The odds: This will likely end up being built, but probably not exactly as envisioned. Public design competitions are usually just opening gambits in what turn out to be prolonged political deliberations. When city hall is through vetting this concept and fitting it to a budget it may bear only a passing resemblance to the renderings.

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